Indian peacekeeper to be posthumously honored with UN medal

An Indian peacekeeper is among 119 military, police and civilians who will be honored with a prestigious United Nations medal this year for their courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.

Police officer Jitender Kumar made the ultimate sacrifice while serving with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

He will be honored with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal on Friday as the world body marks the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador, Syed Akbaruddin, would receive the medal on behalf of the deceased Indian peacekeeper in a solemn ceremony here.

India is the fourth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping. It currently contributes more than 6,400 military and police personnel to United Nations peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, the Middle East, South Sudan and Western Sahara.

According to UN information last year, India has lost the highest number of its peacekeepers deployed in various UN peacekeeping operations in the past 70 years, with 163 servicemen. , police and civilians of the country making the supreme sacrifice in the exercise of their functions.

Of the 3,737 Blue Helmets who have died since 1948, 163 were from India.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will preside over the ceremony this week where the Dag Hammarskjold Medal will be awarded posthumously to 119 peacekeepers, police and civilians who lost their lives in 2018 and early 2019.

Commemoration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers will begin with the laying of a wreath by the head of the United Nations in honor of all UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948, when the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations. in Palestine.

In a video message, the Secretary-General said that this day pays tribute to more than one million men and women who have served as peacekeepers since the first UN mission in 1948.

“We remember that over 3,800 people paid the ultimate price. And we express our deepest gratitude to the 100,000 civilian, police and military peacekeepers deployed around the world today and to the countries that provide these brave and dedicated women and men.

The Secretary-General added that this year the United Nations marks the 20th anniversary of the Security Council’s mandate for the first time of a peacekeeping mission tasked with protecting civilians.

“Peacekeepers protect men, women and children from violence every day, often at great personal risk.

Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said UN peacekeeping operations deploy to some of the most complex and challenging places, protecting some of the people most vulnerable to world.

“We are working in partnership with Member States to implement the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative to strengthen peacekeeping, including improving the way we protect civilians, which is at the heart of our work. For hundreds of millions of people, peacekeeping is the last hope and it needs our full support,” he said.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all the men and women serving in peacekeeping and to honor the memory of those who lost their lives for the cause of peace. The General Assembly has designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.